A courier stole a laptop. What can I do?

Hi Aunty


Hope you’re keeping nice and warm?

I want to know our rights when it comes to deliveries from couriers. I understand without insurance, if a parcel gets damaged, we cannot claim. However, if there is NO delivery or the signature is forged or nothing like the receiver’s, what can we do?


We have an instance with a low cost courier service that works on pre-paid coupons. They had a delivery go to one of our clients, but never arrived.

We asked for a proof of delivery and none was presented therefore a cheque was sent to us to recover costs (for laptop, GPS, software etc).


Before the cheque arrived, we were told they now had a signature (which is nothing like the customer’s). Looks like someone scribbled the name of the receiver.


On investigation, we found that on that day there was a temp driver. After this the client provided copy of driver’s license, stat dec and emails stating he “wasn’t even at that location, how could he have signed for it?”

The courier company is refusing to pay by saying “we have a signature”.

We questioned the company stating that they don’t match, which they agreed, but stick to “we have a signature”.


Where can I go and what can I do to recover our costs, for:

  1. Non delivery of equipment.
  2. Forged signature.


Thanks and keep warm.


Mark P,
Wetherill Park, NSW





Dear Mark,

Good to hear from you! Hope business is going well. And yes, all Melburnians are breathing a sign of relief that we are through July!


Mark, I ran this past a few of my favourite lawyers – sensible blokes who don’t charge like wounded bulls – and got this answer from our legal feature writer Andrew Douglas, director of Douglas Workplace & Litigation Lawyers. (Any other suggestions from lawyers will be happily published.)


He says the first place to go is the police. Yes, they may be reluctant to do anything because it is commercial, but this should certainly put the wind up the courier. If you present the information carefully and simply you may get them interested, he says.


In criminal proceedings you are entitled to recover the loss – but it may be a driver without means who did the forgery to avoid getting into trouble with his boss.


Wait to see what happens with the police for a while, and make a small claim (in NSW I think this is less than $10,000) in the Magistrates Court.


There is no legal rights of appearance and you can get quick justice. You really just need to fill out a claim and file/serve it; the registrar will help you.


Otherwise get a debt collector to do it for you, but there are some costs associated with that.


Also do a simple letter of demand (see below) threatening proceedings and indicating you will be advising police. (You cannot do a deal on resolving the matter by not telling police, that in itself is a crime. What you can do is not progress with it if they do pay – you tell the police it has been resolved and they will forget it.)


The letter would be something like:


We note we engaged you on…….. to deliver a ……….. to ……….


The ……… was never delivered and you acknowledged liability by agreeing to pay the costs of ………….. in a conversation between……. of our office and ……. of yours on ……..


You have subsequently resiled from payment by suggesting you have a signature from the recipient.


We have provided you with evidence that unequivocally demonstrates the signature is not from the recipient and the recipient never received…………… It is disappointing that you have chosen to avoid your legal liabilities in such a manner. Both the recipient and I are deeply concerned by a signature on your document that clearly has been made by someone other than the recipient with the intention of avoiding liability to our business.

We will be contacting the police in respect of this document and require for the purposes of both civil and criminal proceedings that you preserve all documents concerning this matter.


We further note that we will be obtaining legal advice shortly and thereafter intend to issue proceedings to recover all monies owed to our business.


OK, that’s it. Let us know how you go.

And I’ll keep warm if you’ll stay cool.


Your Aunty B.


Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!


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